5 Best Smart Thermostats in 2021 To Suit Every Home

There is no single answer as to which smart thermostat is the best – it is more a case of what is compatible with your home’s heating system and what best suits your needs.

It can be hard to find the right temperature balance in your home during the Winter when the heating is on all day long and next months electricity bill is looming. Even in the Summer time our wallets can’t catch a break when we blast the aircon as soon as we get in the door. Heating and cooling is a central part of the modern home and according to the US Department of Energy, it accounted for 55% of the energy used in American homes in 2015.

There is no single answer as to which smart thermostat is the best – it is more a case of what is compatible with your home’s heating system and what best suits your needs. Based on both expert and customer reviews and in depth research on all of the latest models and their features, I give you my list of the 5 best smart thermostats in 2021.

Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen
-Easy to use, minimal input

Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control
-Best for complex heating systems

Mysa Smart Thermostat
-Best option for high/line voltage heating systems

Wyze Smart Thermostat
-Most affordable

Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat
-Best remote sensor

Smart Thermostat on a wall next to an open doorway, looking into a bright room.

For decades heating has been controlled by the old faithful analog thermostat with its two main settings: on and off. Traditional thermostats have served us well, but the era of having such limited functionality for a vital part of our home infrastructure is near its end.

It has never been more affordable or convenient to upgrade your home’s heating control. In addition, many utility companies offer rebates for installing an energy efficient smart thermostat. Simply lookout for the Energy Star rating label.

Smart thermostats, it can be argued, present the most benefits of any smart home device. They are kinder to the planet by using less energy than a standard “dumb” thermostat, and they are much kinder to your wallet, saving you as much as 10%-15% on your electricity bills. The higher your heating bills, the greater the potential savings.

Smiling piggy bank sitting on dollars on top of a heater

When deciding on a smart thermostat, it is best to choose one that is compatible with smart devices that you already own. If it is your first smart home investment, consider which platform you are most comfortable with between Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri.

As with most smart technology, the majority of smart thermostats have mobile app control. You can access your app wherever you are to set, adjust, or override your thermostat programming. Some smart thermostats have an integrated geofencing radius too, which means they can pick up your phones location within a certain distance, and will automatically switch your heating to “away mode” when you leave, or “home mode” when you are returning home. Just don’t forget to take your phone with you!

Canadian based Ecobee launched the first ever first smart thermostat in 2007, followed by Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat in 2011. These two companies undoubtedly lead the field, but there is an ever-increasing number of alternatives that are worth considering. Smart thermostats have many different features, with each company prioritizing what it believes serves its customers best.

Nest thermostat temperature being adjusted

For example, if the thought of needing to customize your thermostat puts you off, the Nest Learning Thermostat allows you to set it and forget it. The Nest Thermostat will learn your schedule, how your home heats up and what your ideal home temperature is. Whereas Ecobee Thermostats more suitable if you have a complex heating system and multiple rooms that require monitoring. These work with one or multiple room sensors to keep the temperature throughout your home balanced are highly customizable.

Other features you can look out for are power extender kits, vacation scheduling, maintenance alerts, and power cycle alerts that tell you when the device is behaving erratically.

Some older thermostats do not have a common wire (C-wire for short) which is the wire that supplies electricity to the device. If you don’t have a C-wire, this can be solved by using a power extender kit that will tap into electricity from surrounding circuits to power the smart thermostat. A better but slightly more expensive solution is to pay an electrician to install a C-wire for you to avoid any issues with power supply to other appliances.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen

The Nest Learning Thermostat is easy to use. Once installed, from the moment you set your preferred temperature, it requires minimal input. On top of that it has a modern, sleek design. Using geofencing as mentioned above, it will sense when you are home and when you are away to adjust power usage accordingly. This latest generation comes with the Nest Heat Link that also allows you to control your hot water tank with the mobile app. The Heat Link will automatically switch off your hot water tank when you are away for a few days. This is a noteworthy feature.

This Nest also tracks energy usage and shows you exactly how much you have saved, along with giving you tips on how to further reduce energy usage. It will monitor your water temperature, warning you if your pipes might freeze, and comes with a motion sensor that will light up the display when you enter the room. It will also measure the humidity in your home and alert you of any sudden changes. Nest thermostats are compatible with other smart home devices including Nest devices, IFTTT and Amazon Alexa. The Nest app can be installed on both Android and IOS devices.

If you have or are planning to use the Apple Home kit, it is better to give the Nest Learning Thermostat a skip as it is not directly compatible and requires a separate home bridge device in order to work together. A disadvantage of Nest is that it does not come with remote room sensors.

DIY installation is possible, although it is recommended and safer to have it professionally installed. Click here to see which heating systems are compatible with and how to install the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control

If you enjoy setting up new devices, and customizing them to work exactly the way you like it, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat might be just what you’re looking for. Ecobee is by far the most versatile and customizable smart thermostat out there. With a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker for calls, music and voice commands, this thermostat is also compatible with Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, and IFTTT. A big advantage over the Nest thermostat is Ecobees’ remote room sensor that helps to keep the temperature balanced throughout your home. While the device only comes with one remote sensor, you can buy additional sensors as needed.

With all its added functionality, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is physically much larger than the Nest Learning Thermostat and costs roughly the same.

Ecobee is a better choice if you have a complex heating system and, for this reason especially, it is best to opt for professional installation. DIY installation is possible. Click here to see which heating systems are compatible, as well as installation instructions.

Mysa Smart Thermostat

While low voltage heating systems are compatible with any number of smart thermostats, high/line voltage heaters (120/220Volt AC) such as baseboard heaters and fan forced heaters have very few good options when it comes to smart thermostat control. The Mysa Smart Thermostat has a stylish, minimalist design and is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit. While not the most complex smart thermostat, the Mysa thermostat has a good mobile app, will track your energy usage, and allows you to create zones for heating within your home.

This thermostat must be installed by a qualified electrician, and accidental damage due to faulty installation is not covered under its warranty.

Wyze Smart Thermostat

When it comes to affordability, Wyze Lab smart home products are hard to beat. The Wyze Smart Thermostat is basic and effective. Its features include compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control. It is compatible with more heating systems than the Nest Thermostat, and will track and give you tips on how to reduce your energy usage.

This thermostat has a 20-minute DIY installation video included in the Wyze app.

Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat

For homes with multiple rooms that need heating control, the T9 Smart Home Thermostat by Resideo Honeywell Home is a great option. It comes with remote sensors that detect proximity, humidity and temperature and can support up to 20 sensors throughout your home. It features smart response and alerts for maintenance and drastic temperature swings. This thermostat will learn your home’s heating and cooling cycles and has mobile app control.

If your current thermostat does not have a C-wire (as discussed above), and you don’t want to have one installed, it would be best to avoid this smart thermostat. The T9 comes with a C-wire power adapter, however, based on customer reviews this works very poorly if at all. DIY installation is possible, but once again, professional installation would be a wise choice.

In Conclusion

Smart thermostats are not a one size fits all solution. You need to know what kind of heating system is in your home and how much custom input and you want to have. While many articles promote how easy DIY installation is, electrical work is best left to professionals. Most smart thermostats run on SELV (Safe Electrical Low Voltage) which means you won’t get a shock, however, bad/loose wire terminations and exposed copper can give rise to heat. Saving a few dollars on installation may not be worth it if you damage your device, your heating system, or put yourself at risk with improper tools and incomplete knowledge.

What to do next?

If you enjoyed this article and want to know what else you can upgrade in your home, come read our article What is a smart home to get inspiration!

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